What You Can Expect When Returning to the Dentist After Some Years

Your family dentist should never become a stranger. But this is a fact of life for many people. Yes, you should be having a regular dental checkup every six months or so, but it might have been several years since your last visit. It could have been due to finances, a busy lifestyle, or that (as far as you can tell) your teeth have remained healthy. Whatever the reason for the absence, what can you expect when you visit your dentist after several years away?

1. Inform the Dental Practice Staff

When scheduling the appointment, you need to tell the dental practice staff that this is your first visit after an extended period without a checkup. This helps the dental practice with their own scheduling, in that they may need to allot additional time for a more intensive checkup, along with the necessary time for any additional diagnostic testing (such as a dental X-ray).

2. Don't Expect a Lecture

At the practice, your dentist will efficiently identify and describe any issues facing your teeth. This will not take the form of a lecture, so don't be embarrassed. Your dentist is very much used to welcoming patients back after an extended absence, and it's a case of better late than never. It won't be a judgemental experience, and your dentist is simply pointing out issues that require treatment.

3. Make a Follow-up Appointment

Depending on your specific case, some minor issues (such as the need for a filling or two) might be treated during your checkup. Other issues may require a follow-up appointment. So when you return to the dentist, be prepared for the possibility of needing a subsequent appointment in the coming days or weeks.

4. Understand How to Cover the Costs

The extent of any required treatment also poses the question of cost. Before you go back to the dentist, check the allowances of your dental insurance (if applicable). You may need to pay some costs yourself, so it's important to be mindful of this possibility. You should also talk to your dentist about payment plans if you need more intensive restoration work. 

It really is a case of better late than never when going back to your family dentist. You might have escaped major dental issues by taking care of your teeth at home, but there's no guarantee that this will continue. To learn more and take care of your oral health, contact a local family dental clinic.